VDOT Wounded Veterans Internship Program marks eight years of success
Richmond, VA � The Virginia Department of Transportation�s (VDOT) Wounded Veterans Internship Program has placed seventy-five veterans in internship positions since its launch in September 2006, eleven in technical areas.
The federally funded program is designed for veterans who are unable to return to a former job due to physical or emotional disabilities or because the position is no longer available.
The program allows veterans to revamp old job skills or develop new ones. VDOT attempts to locate internships close to where the veterans are receiving rehabilitation or living.
One of the program�s former interns, veteran Jonathan Singleton, has been program coordinator since 2012. Singleton started as an intern in the program in 2009. Before being introduced to VDOT, Singleton served from 1997 to 2005 as a field radio operator in the United States Marine Corps. He was deployed to Iraq twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II in 2003 and 2004. He was wounded in the Battle of Nasiriyah in March 2003.
After being discharged from the military, Singleton started college to pursue his associates degree in computer electronics technology from Virginia�s ECPI College of Technology.
He graduated in 2007 and received a fulltime offer with a telecom startup. In 2009, the company downsized and Singleton was hit with his first layoff after the military. He discovered that VDOT was offering internships to transitioning veterans, so he applied and started an internship with the civil rights division of VDOT�s central office.
As an intern, Singleton was mostly trained on the job. With the assistance of mentors and leaders within the department, he was able to compete for fulltime employment, and landed a fulltime position in the civil rights division in 2011 as disadvantaged business enterprise program support specialist.
A number of veteran service-related organizations are working with VDOT to implement the program.
Internships last from six months to two years, depending on the needs of the veterans and the VDOT office where they are placed. Veterans are compensated at an hourly rate determined by the skill sets involved and the particular position.
Placement depends on the veterans� aptitudes and interests; interns with a technical focus may work in project management, information systems or engineering. Veterans in the program can compete for fulltime VDOT jobs, or they can be introduced to jobs in the private sector or another government agency.
Northern Virginia Technology Council launches veterans employment initiative
Herndon, VA � The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) has launched a veterans employment initiative to accelerate veterans� transitions to civilian life by providing better employment opportunities in Virginia. The initiative will connect veterans to employment opportunities with Virginia�s technology companies.
Through this program, NVTC provides the necessary tools and resources to match veterans with jobs, internships, mentorships and certifications, and also supports member companies in their efforts to hire, train and retain qualified veteran employees. At the same time, NVTC is collaborating with state and federal policymakers to expedite legislative and regulatory action that enhances companies� ability to hire and train veterans to work on any federal contract.
NVTC and Monster.com have built an online community resource that facilitates the development, hiring and training of military veterans throughout the technology community. The website, www.nvtc.monster.com, includes a searchable database of jobs at NVTC member companies, a military skills translator for veterans to match their skills to jobs in the civilian environment, and educational resources and tools.
As of February, post-9/11 veterans faced an unemployment rate of more than 9 percent. The employment situation is more challenging for veterans less than twenty-five years of age; for that group, the 2012 unemployment rate was 20 percent.
These veterans, and the million more who will be leaving the military in coming years, have earned the right to have an easy transition back to civilian life, say NVTC organizers. They are a significant untapped reservoir of skilled human capital for American businesses as well.
In addition to the personal and professional qualities veterans bring to the workplace, hiring veterans can make a company eligible to earn specific tax credits.
Veterans have many skills and attributes that are valuable to private sector employers, including leadership and team-building skills; experience working in a mission-focused environment; strong work ethic and demonstrated initiative; ability to work in a team to reach a larger objective; military training, including training in many high-tech fields; quick thinking and willingness to take on challenges, and strong technical skills that translate to the civilian environment.
BPW Foundation and California women�s commission launch joint mentoring and employment program for women vets
Washington, DC � On Veterans Day 2013, the Business and Professional Women�s (BPW) Foundation (bpwfoundation.org) and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG, women.ca.gov) announced the launch of their joint California�Joining Forces Mentoring Plus program. The program will support the state�s growing population of women veterans, military/veteran spouses, and caregivers of wounded warriors, all of whom can face challenges identifying and succeeding in civilian careers.
Building on the free high tech-high touch national Joining Forces Mentoring Plus (JFMP, www.joiningforcesmentoringplus.org) platform, California�Joining Forces Mentoring Plus will facilitate mentoring connections and provide tailored career development and employment resources for California�s significant population of women who have served our country.
The program was announced at the California State Military Museum in Sacramento, CA. �We applaud the California Commission on Women and Girls for their vision in identifying the value in California�Joining Forces Mentoring Plus, and for coordinating this state-level effort to support the career transitions of women who have so honorably served our country and are now struggling to find civilian careers. We hope California will serve as a template for other states that share CCSWG�s commitment to women veterans, military/veteran spouses, and caregivers of wounded warriors,� BPW Foundation board chair and JFMP mentor Roslyn Ridgeway said at the ceremony.
In a letter announcing the program, actress and advocate Geena Davis, who is chair of CCSWG, emphasized the key role mentorship plays. �The importance of the person-to-person relationship and the ability to talk to someone about the special needs veterans have in transition is critical. This program provides the connection between people who have been there and understand the civilian world and veterans, by providing both mentors and mentees with resources.�
Colonel Rich Morales, executive director of the White House Joining Forces initiative, sent congratulations from the White House: �On behalf of the First Lady and Dr Biden, Joining Forces applauds the Business and Professional Women�s Foundation and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls on the launch of the statewide California�Joining Forces Mentoring Plus portal.
�Joining Forces is inspired by this strong commitment to support our nation�s women veterans and military spouses. All over the country, organizations like BPW Foundation and CCSWG are stepping up to serve our veterans and military families the same way they�ve served our country. Our servicewomen lead in complex environments, build teams, and are natural managers of people and resources to get things done. Supporting these women in their future careers benefits not only these individuals, but also our country as a whole.�
In addition to launching California� Joining Forces Mentoring Plus, BPW Foundation participated in a broad range of Veterans Day activities throughout November focused on women veterans, military/veteran spouses, and wounded warrior caregivers, including company events at Citi, Dell, Booz Allen Hamilton (all Joining Forces Mentoring Plus partners), Microsoft and Oracle.
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